No. 7 Men's Tennis Advances in ITA Kickoff Weekend

Jan. 27, 2012

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Behind a dominating performance in singles, where the Wildcats took the first set in all four matches that were played, the No. 7 University of Kentucky men’s tennis team continued its solid start to the 2012 season by defeating No. 57 North Carolina State 4-0 in the opening round of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Kickoff Weekend on Friday at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex.

The win advances Kentucky (5-0) to the second round of the ITA Kickoff Weekend, which is essentially the first and second rounds of the ITA National Indoor Team Championships. UK will face Tulsa (1-3) on Saturday at approximately 1 p.m. ET with the winner advancing to Charlottesville, Va., to play in the ITA National Indoor Team Championships.

“I thought that we played a really good match today and I was particularly impressed with how we were able to close out the match,” UK head coach Dennis Emery said. “North Carolina State is a very good Atlantic Coast Conference team, so that is a great win to have under our belt. Now we have to turn our attention to an excellent Tulsa team that we know will be a tough test for us.”

Kentucky started the match by taking the doubles point for the fourth time this season. UK has now won the doubles point in every match they have played doubles. Junior Anthony Rossi and sophomore Tom Jomby stared the winning at No. 2 doubles over Dominic Hodgson and Matt Thomson. After going up an early break, the duo would serve out the match strong and earn an 8-5 win, setting UK up nicely to win the doubles point.

Senior Eric Quigley and sophomore Panav Jha would seal the point in a tight battle at No. 1 doubles over Julian Sullivan and Sean Weber. The UK duo was serving for the match at 7-4 before NC State earned a key break and then held serve to cut the lead to 7-6. Sullivan/Weber would break again and then hold serve to take an 8-7 lead before Quigley/Jha held serve to tie the match 8-8 and force a tiebreaker. The UK tandem would regroup in the tiebreaker and earn a 7-4 win to clinch the match 9-8 (4) and the doubles point.

NC State led the match at No. 3 doubles when UK clinched the point and doubles play was suspended. Robbie Mudge and Jamie Pulgar of NC State were up a break 6-4 over senior Alex Musialek and sophomore Alejandro Gomez.

“Definitely one of the keys to the match was how we were able to win the doubles point,” Emery said. “Really good effort by Anthony (Rossi) and Tom (Jomby) at two doubles to get things started. Eric (Quigley) and Panav (Jha) were up two breaks there at one doubles before NC State was able to come back and take the lead 8-7. You never want to give up a lead like that, but I did like how Eric and Panav regained their composure and fought through that situation to eventually win the match. It showed great character on their part.”

UK dominated singles play, winning the first set in all four matches on court. No. 13 Musialek ended first with an impressive 6-2, 6-2 win over Hodgson at No. 2 singles, while fellow senior No. 5 Quigley also rolled with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Pulgar at No. 1 singles. Kentucky would clinch the decisive fourth point at No. 3 singles when No. 36 Rossi took down Sullivan in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.

Play at No. 5 and No. 6 singles had not started when the match was clinched for UK, however No. 95 Jomby did lead 7-5, 5-5 in the second set at No. 4 singles over Mudge.

“Pleased with how we played in singles,” Emery said. “I felt that winning the first set on each court really set the tone and we were able to keep our level of play up and finish things off from there.”

After the match, Emery along with UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart presented Quigley with an award for breaking the school record for career singles wins. Quigley broke the record Tuesday when he earned his 145th career singles win.

The win by Kentucky ties the all-time series against the Wolfpack 1-1. NC State won the previous meeting 4-3 in Lexington, Ky., in 2006. The Wildcats are also 3-0 on the young season against top-60 ranked opponents.

Tulsa, UK’s next opponent, advanced to the second round with a 4-1 win over No. 58 East Tennessee State in the opening round. The Golden Hurricane is 1-3 on the season with all three losses coming to top-20 ranked teams. Tulsa started the year with a 4-3 loss to No. 14 California before dropping another 4-3 contest to No. 6 Stanford last Friday. No. 20 North Carolina gave TU its third loss of the season in a 5-2 win last Sunday.

Tulsa boasts two ranked singles players in No. 83 Ashley Watling and No. 88 Grant Ive, and two ranked doubles teams in No. 3 Watling and Clifford Marsland and No. 37 Ive and Tristan Jackson. UK holds a 2-0 record all-time against Tulsa, dating back to the first-ever meeting in 1983.

Kentucky has been nearly unbeatable at home the past few seasons. Since the 2009 season, UK is an impressive 46-9 at home, including a 3-0 mark this year. The Wildcats were 18-3 at home last season.

Live scores and an interactive live blog for fans will be kept online at during Saturday’s matches. Fans can also follow all the action from all 15 events around the country by going to or using the hashtag #ITAKickOff on Twitter.

This marks the third consecutive season that Kentucky has hosted the event. The Wildcats advanced through the event in each of the previous two seasons and went on to have successful runs at the team championships.

UK is one of 15 schools that were chosen to host an ITA Kickoff Weekend event. Those schools were designated as host sites in order of their year-end 2011 Campbell/ITA team ranking. Three visiting schools will travel to each host site for a four-team tournament. Virginia earned an automatic berth in team championships because they are hosting.

For more information on the Kentucky men's tennis team, follow "UKmenstennis" on Twitter or "University of Kentucky men's tennis team" on Facebook.

No. 7 Kentucky 4, No. 57 North Carolina State 0
ITA Kickoff Weekend – Friday, Jan. 27, 2012
Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex – Lexington, Ky.

1 – No. 5 Eric Quigley (UK) def. Jamie Pulgar (NC State) 6-3, 6-2
2 – No. 13 Alex Musialek (UK) def. Dominic Hodgson (NC State) 6-2, 6-2
3 – No. 36 Anthony Rossi (UK) def. Julian Sullivan (NC State) 6-4, 6-4
4 – No. 95 Tom Jomby (UK) vs. Robbie Mudge (NC State) 7-5, 5-5 DNF
5 – No. 111 Alejandro Gomez (UK) vs. No. 100 Austin Powell (NC State) DNP
6 – No. 85 Panav Jha (UK) vs. Rafael Paez (NC State) DNP

1 – Eric Quigley/Panav Jha (UK) def. Julian Sullivan/Sean Weber (NC State) 9-8 (4)
2 – Tom Jomby/Anthony Rossi (UK) def. Dominic Hodgson/Matt Thomson (NC State) 8-5
3 – Robbie Mudge/Jamie Pulgar (NC State) led Alex Musialek/Alejandro Gomez (UK) 6-4 DNF

Order of Finish:
Singles – 2, 3, 1*
Doubles – 2, 1*

No. 22 Tulsa 4, No. 58 East Tennessee State 1
ITA Kickoff Weekend – Friday, Jan. 27, 2012
Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex – Lexington, Ky.

1 – Clifford Marsland (TU) def. Sander Gille (ETSU) 6-3, 6-1
2 – Ashley Watling (TU) vs. Jesus Bandres (ETSU) 6-3, 6-4
3 – Grant Ive (TU) vs. Juan Ramirez (ETSU) 6-4, 6-2
4 – Jeremy Bonnevalle (ETSU) def. Lucian Gheorghe (TU) 6-2, 6-4
5 – Tristian Jackson (TU) led Roger Ordeig (ETSU) 1-0 DNF
6 – Alejandro Sanchez (TU) vs. Rogerio Ribeiro (ETSU) 0-0 DNF

1 – No. 3 Clifford Marsland/Ashley Watling (TU) def. Sander Gille/Jesus Bandres (ETSU) 8-5
2 – No. 37 Grant Ive/Tristan Jackson (TU) led Robin Asker/Jorge Varon (ETSU) 7-4 DNF
3 – Alejandro Sanchez/Lucian Gheorghe (TU) def. Jeremy Bonnevall/Roger Ordeig (ETSU) 8-1

Order of Finish
Singles: 4, 1, 2, 3*
Doubles: 3, 2*